Newman Studies Journal

Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Brendan Case
Pages 15-27

“Notions” and “Things” in John Henry Newman’s Grammar of Assent

In discussing apprehension, assent, and inference in his Grammar of Assent, Newman contrasted “notions” and “things”—terms that distinguish knowledge of the abstract and “unreal” from knowledge of the singular and concrete. This essay proposes that Newman’s contrast between “notions” and “things” is an adverbial distinction, qualifying a person’s mode of engagement with the world, rather than an adjectival distinction, qualifying the metaphysical status of particular terms.